Cattle Production Veterinarian Hall of Fame Inducts Beef and Dairy Leaders

Since the dawn of the veterinary profession some 250 years ago, veterinarians have been helping farmers and ranchers do what they do best – produce safe, nutritious food for the world. Among veterinarians, none are more dedicated to the health and well-being of animals than the cattle production veterinarian. Last week, during the annual meeting of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) in Omaha, Nebraska, two veterinarians were honored as the recipients of the Cattle Production Veterinarian Hall of Fame (CPVHOF) award. Rodney G. Oliphant, D.V.M., and Darrel E. Johnson, D.V.M., were selected by the CPVHOF beef and dairy selection committees, which are comprised of members of AABP and the Academy of Veterinary Consultants (AVC).  

“The beef and dairy industries have benefitted tremendously from the knowledge and contributions provided by these two outstanding veterinarians,” said Brent Meyer, D.V.M., beef cattle technical services, Merck Animal Health. “Dr. Oliphant and Dr. Johnson have contributed to the cattle industry through scientific advancements and disease control, however, their biggest contribution may be the legacy they leave through the students they taught.”

2017 Dairy Inductee – Dr. Darrel E. Johnson

Darrel E. Johnson, D.V.M., completed his pre-vet studies at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota and earned his D.V.M degree at the University of Minnesota in 1957. He entered private practice in the employ of the late Dr. Elvin K. Prather in Manawa, Wisconsin, eventually becoming an owner and partner. The practice expanded into Weyauwega, Wisconsin in 1960 and Dr. Johnson practiced in the area as senior member of Dairyland Animal Health Inc. until his retirement in 1993. 

Dr. Johnson’s practice was in the forefront of the development of production medicine concepts and was highly sought after for veterinary externships from veterinary schools throughout the Midwest. Also at this time, the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association (WVMA) was lobbying to establish a School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Dr. Johnson was an active supporter of the school and served on Dean Dr. Bernard “Barney” Easterday’s first Board of Visitors.

In 1967, Dr. Johnson co-chaired the first joint committee commissioned by the Wisconsin Examining Board and the WVMA to formally explore the ethical and procedural steps inherent to the association’s formal recognition of preventive medicine and production medicine as the new trend in animal agriculture. 

He held major positions with both the AABP and the National Mastitis Council (NMC).  Throughout the 80’s he represented his District on the AABP Board of Directors and served on the AVMA House of Delegates. During the same period, he served a term on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the NMC and was the NMC Program Chair for their joint meeting with the AABP. In 1991 Dr. Johnson joined the executive committee of the AABP. After serving as the program chair for the large joint meeting with the World Association of Buiatrics, he began his term as president of AABP in 1993.  

In the AVMA, Dr. Johnson served on several committees, most notably the Council on Biologics and Therapeutic Agents (COBTA) and the Veterinary Practice Act revision task force.  Critical AVMA/ AABP issues of the period were Extra-Label Drug Use Policies, and formulating the Veterinary, Client, Patient Relationship (VCPR) criteria as the foundation of responsible drug use and ethical behavior relative to FDA/CVM policy development.

2017 Beef Inductee – Dr. Rodney G. Oliphant

Rodney G Oliphant, D.V.M., was born in Spearville, Kansas in 1938. He was raised on his family farm in Offerle, Kansas. After high school he attended Kansas State University, where he was a member of Blue Key Honor Society and Farmhouse fraternity. He earned his D.V.M. from Kansas State University in 1963.

After graduation he joined the Air Force to serve his country, working as a veterinarian for two years in Merced, California. Following his time of service, he practiced in Goodland, Kansas until his father took ill in 1970. He then returned to Offerle to start and manage his own practice and ranching business consisting of a 1,000-head commercial herd. He also started a registered Angus cattle herd with his son. In addition, Dr. Oliphant was owner of Oliphant Veterinary Hospital, a mixed animal practice which focused on feedlot care. His feedlot consulting business in Kansas took him into Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming and Texas, where he consulted for Koch Industries.

Dr. Oliphant is known for his pioneering work in the area of preventive beef medicine and spoke nationally on the issues. His donation of time and knowledge given to the local 4-H clubs and serving on the local school board were just a few examples of how he touched his surrounding community.

Dr. Oliphant was president of the Academy of Veterinary Consultants from 1990-1991. He was a member of the AABP, Kansas Veterinary Medical Association, and Christian Veterinary Mission. Dr. Oliphant served on the board of directors of the veterinary medical divisions of SmithKline Beecham, Pfizer, Merck and Elanco. He also served on the Kansas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners for numerous years.

Dr. Oliphant retired in 2010 and passed away in September of 2012. He will be remembered as a veterinarian who was constantly on a quest for knowledge and a man who inspired others to improve themselves and the ones around them. His legacy will be in the family he left, the people he touched and the example of how to treat others whom we encounter. He was a true mentor to many and respected by all who truly knew him.

About the Cattle Production Veterinary Hall of Fame

Established in 2011, CPVHOF honors the traditions of production veterinary medicine and the individuals who have made a lasting impact on the profession. Through early mornings, late nights and harsh weather conditions, veterinarians are a steadfast and essential part of cattle production. The CPVHOF celebrates the rich traditions of cattle production veterinary medicine by honoring the exceptional men and women who have made lasting contributions to their profession. Inductees are true pioneers whose achievements span their entire careers. The Hall of Fame is sponsored by Merck Animal Health, the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, the Academy of Veterinary Consultants, Bovine Veterinarian magazine and Osborn Barr.